How NOT to order Pupusas

Last night Suegra made pupusas for dinner. We all sat down at the table and began to eat. I watched my oldest son pick one up in his hands and start munching on it as if it were a cookie.

This is not how you eat a pupusa and it annoyed me greatly. I instructed him to put it down on his plate, pull it open, and eat it with curtido* properly.

Being almost 12 years old, he rolled his eyes but did as I told him, all the while mumbling to himself, “I don’t even like curtido… cabbage and vinegar…two things I hate…especially vinegar…”

I told him that if he ever wanted to go back to visit El Salvador, (he only went once as an infant), he would have to eat pupusas properly or everyone would laugh at him. He considered this for a second and then said something that cemented in reality that he is irrevocably gringo in some ways:

“Well, if we go to a restaurant in El Salvador and we order pupusas, I can always order the curtido light on the vinegar, right?”

* Curtido in El Salvador is a lightly fermented cabbage salad which is served with pupusas. Curtido is made in large batches and kept in jars. It is not something that can be “made to order” under most circumstances.


  1. ay mi muchachito! He has to attend a Pupusa 101 class at the Pupusa University where I am the Dean! I will tech him:
    1)How to properly open and blow a hot pupusa.
    2) How to eat a pupusa by only using 4 fingers.
    3) Curtido and Salsa de Tomate, good in moderation.
    4) Pupusas of the 21st Century ( pupusas de chacalin, pupusas de queso con albahaca, pupusas quatri fromaggi etc)
    5) Steaming hot pupusas and icy-cold horchata, a dangerous but delicious combination,
    And much more! Tracy, enroll him today, do not delay!!!
    PS, never heard of a light-vinegar curtido but is worth the research!!!!

    • @ Claudia – LOL! You make me laugh so much… Any chance your classes come in DVD version? How much is shipping and handling… and don’t forget my free gift! ;)

      • Are you kidding me!!!! My classes (yeah right) come in 3D DVDs!!! I make those Pupusas look ginormous!! LOL
        PS, now I have to get a bit creative and decide what that free gift could be… marketing, marketing, marketing!

  2. Reading your posts is always a mixed bag of emotions for me.

    It warms me how strongly you’ve embraced the guanaco culture. This pupusa story sounds like something I would do if I had kids.

    At the same time, it also reminds me of some of the Salvadoran folks that I’ve met here that act like being here somehow makes them better than everyone else, which more than ticks me off.

    Much kudos to you! You are more guanaca than some native born guanacos. :)

    • @ Cheleguanaco – My suegra would disagree with you on my level of guanaca-ness. To her I am pura gringa, (say that in such a way that you’re almost spitting. LOL.)

      I think she doesn’t fully appreciate that “normal” white girls don’t make their kids speak Spanish and definitely wouldn’t put up with half of her locuras ;)

      I will take the honorary title though. Perhaps it should come as a certificate/diploma along with Claudia’s DVD set, to be signed upon completion of Pupusa Academy. LOL.

      • ROFLMAO (diploma).

        My experience has been that folks like your suegra often times have no problem overlooking the other guanacos I referenced, which is rather silly.

    • Opino igual que @cheleguanaco in the sense that it is so wonderful how Tracy has embraced our guana-cultura.
      Creo que esos Salvadoreños (en este caso particular)que se creen unos “chivos peli” sólo por estar aquí son unos deshubicados y tiene un problema de identidad. El negar ser salvadoreños jamás los hará más gringos. Yo también he conocido un par así y me da pena por ellos.
      Anyways, this is about Tracy and all her great posts where she shares with us the beauty of inter-cultural families, her “adventures” with the suegra and much more!

  3. If your visits are anything like mine, most of the eating takes place in people’s casas. That would further complicate his plan! Bless his heart ;)

    • @ Amanda – You’re right. Can you just imagine the look on a Tia’s face when he holds up a finger and says, “Um, excuse me, can you make my curtido light on the vinegar?”

      I imagine them bustling back to the kitchen with his plate mumbling about spoiled gringos and the rest of the family laughing at how strange he is.

      Of course, this sort of behavior would only be fair, since when I give Suegra a cheeseburger or sandwich, she completely dissects it and eats every part of it separate.

  4. No way would I eat curtido! I’m with Older Son, it sounds horrid! I do make my kids eat whatever is served them, no special meals, but I don’t care if they “kid it down” like no chile, or diced onion, or, typical for my girls, only a few bites of beans. For us “beaners” that’s a big deal, but my girls are eating, with us, and pretty much what we are eating. But I do appreciate your drive for your kids to authentically and naturally become “Latino Men”. My girls are probably way too American, but my drive has diminished over the years and I fear I’ve become complacent in their “cultural learning”. You inspire me, so keep up the good work (but for goodness sakes, lay off the curtido!) :)

    • @ Humincat – If you ever visit me, I will serve you curtido and you’ll never know, and I won’t tell you that you ate it until after. “Fermented cabbage salad” sounds much nastier than it is. LOL. I promise it’s good… Have you ever tried Korean Kimchee? … Okay, it’s really nothing like that, but just wondering. LOL.

      Keep trying to make sure the girls know their roots. It’s the most valuable thing you can give them.

      • Ahahaha! I would eat it and I would love it, I’m sure! That is how I first tried some of my all time favorite foods, nopales, birria de chivo, tacos de lengua, etc. And no, never had Kimchee, but I can (can’t really, no..) totally see the connection. ;) Can’t wait to get secretly fed curtido at your casa.

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